Not long ago, an unsolicited “junk fax” came in and caught my attention:
ANGER MANAGEMENT! Are you alarmed at how anger is controlling your life! This important one-day workshop is all about acquiring, step-by-step, the skills you need to better manage anger: your own anger, the outbursts of your employees, the anger your clients might unleash. Topics covered include: how anger affects our bodies, minds, and behaviour; anger management; appropriate expression of feelings; staying calm; preventing a build-up of frustration; developing a model for assertive anger.
This past Wednesday, hundreds of us gathered here in the church, morning and evening, to be marked with ashes. Ashes that symbolize our mortality and vulnerability; our acknowledgement of our sinful condition and dependence on God’s mercy; our openness to conversion, to the inner transformation
I’m here because Father Ray and I will be giving a CAFE on Wednesday, February 25th, on “Called by your Name”. It’s about the deeper name that God calls you, that is deeper than the name your parents gave you. I will come back to this.
Last weekend, we had the privilege of welcoming Pastor Brent Walker to the pulpit to launch the week of prayer for Christian Unity. He spoke to us passionately about some of the ways in which we can narrow the gap between the wonder of “God as God is” – infinite, unconditional, unbreakable love
My family has a tradition of going to the movies on Boxing Day. Last Friday, a group of nine of us went downtown to see “The Imitation Game”. Based on the true story of mathematician Alan Turing, the film tells the story of the team working to break the infamous Enigma Code used by the Nazis to communicate military information during World War II. At one point in the film, a Bible belonging to one of the codebreakers is found, with the passage of Matthew 7:7 clearly marked: “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” And after several years of frustrating blind alleys, near-misses, interpersonal conflict, and an ingenious contraption named “Christopher” which became the forerunner of the modern computer, the unbreakable code is eventually broken. The Bletchley codebreakers sought, and eventually, they found; a discovery that helped bring the war to a quicker end and saved thousands of lives.
I don’t know about all of you, but I know that I look forward every year to hearing the magnificent blessing in the First Reading of the New Year liturgy. I am going to read it again slowly and I want you to hear it as though it is meant just for you. You can close your eyes so as to really take it all in.
Christmas, we are told, is a family time. And even where the religious significance of Christmas has been forgotten or reduced to something marginal, it remains the central family feast of the year. It is a time not only to give gifts, but for families to come together, to reconcile differences, to take some time out from their busy lives to share the gift of each other's presence.
If there is one day in the year when skepticism melts away and the believer hidden inside each of us resurfaces, that day is probably Christmas. But is it all just a nice story that we tell once a year, a play we act out – and then return to business as usual? In his recent LETTER TO A NON-BELIEVER, Pope Francis engages in a dialogue with Eugenio Scalfari – a self-professed agnostic and editor of the influential Italian daily "LA REPUBBLICA”. He writes:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ….What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it..”(John 1 1-5)